Saturday, May 14, 2011

Turning Atunyote at Turning Stone Verona, New York 7,315 yards, par 72 Green fees: $200-$225 877-748-4653 Service Forget "Country Club for a Day"—it's more your own personal course. Start with a gate that opens only for those with a tee time. With perhaps more staff than players, the service was top-notch, all that you would expect from an exclusive private club, not a public course. Pace of Play At 8:30 a.m. on a late May holiday, our spy was the second player on the course. Another teed off 45 minutes earlier; next up was a twosome an hour later. It was like having a private course. Except for dealing with some hazards, it ranks among the fastest rounds we've played. Quality While the design of its sister course, Shenendoah, is more interesting, this is a solid Tom Fazio layout, with a strong risk/reward finish. It's also as well-conditioned as any course we've ever played, public or private. The greens were PGA Tour-ready in late May—just perfect. Value It is considerably pricier than any upstate New York courses, including the other Turning Stone tracks. But how often do you play a practically empty PGA Tour course like you owned it, complete with a Tour-level practice area and clubhouse? This is costly, but not a rip-off at all. Verdict Turning Stone is a terrific golf resort in an unlikely spot (the central New York snowbelt) and Atunyote is its star. Most won't pay these prices more than once a season, but it's worth the splurge on special occasions, if for no other reason than to see how the casino whales live for a day.

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